Justice Jamboree Crab Fest pushes candidates and crabs

By Heather Michon

For the second year in a row, the Justice Jamboree Crab Fest was held via Zoom, but the fresh steamed crabs, corn on the cob, and fried chicken were waiting for pickup at Pleasant Grove Park after the online session ended.

Now in its fifth year, Crab Fest is organized and hosted this year by the Lefty Lunch Ladies, the Fluvanna County Democratic Committee, Virginia Blue, and Fluvanna Leaders for Race and Diversity.

Susan Wolff, head of the Lefty Lunch Ladies, moderated the Zoom session on Saturday afternoon (Sept. 25) and said the decision to remain virtual had come only a couple of weeks ago.

“Last year, when we went virtual, we were so looking forward to everybody getting together this year,” she said, “but because we really care about everybody, we made the decision to once again meet virtually and then have the drive through meal pick up.”

She said that former Fluvanna County Sheriff Ryant Washington has shucked over 200 ears of corn for the event, and two volunteers had completed a four-hour round car trip that morning to pick up fresh-caught crabs from the Chesapeake.

About 50 people signed in to listen to the online meeting live, and Wolff said that several hundred more would be sent a link to the recording. About 220 people later picked up meals from Pleasant Grove.

Tony O’Brien is running unopposed for a third term on the Board of Supervisors. In his remarks, he said he had met many of his goals from when he was first elected eight years ago, but “there’s still work to be done.”

He endorsed both Eric Anderson and Gequettas “G” Murray-Key for School Board seats, saying that if they were not elected, there’s a real possibility “the balance of the board would shift to the hard right.”

“Local politics should be about local issues,” he said, calling things like critical race theory and transgender bathrooms “fake issues” drummed up to to stoke division in the community.

“So yes, I’m running again, and yes, you don’t have a choice, and I’m sorry that you don’t because I think choice matters,” O’Brien said in conclusion. “But you do have a choice when it comes to School Board, and that choice is to go ahead and vote for G[equetta] and for Eric, and to support them in any way possible.”


Fluvanna sits in two state House districts, with most of the county in the 58th District, and two precincts in the Fork Union area falling in the 65th District. Incumbent delegates  Rob Bell and Lee Ware are both facing challenges from women who are relatively new to politics

Sara Ratcliffe has a lengthy career in advocacy in her native Midwest and Washington DC and moved to Greene County with her family several years ago.

In her remarks from Pleasant Grove, she said it was time for a change in the 58th District.

“Rob Bell has been in the seat for 20 years, and I don’t think people are really any better off,” she said.

Former journalist Caitlin Coakley made a similar argument about the 65th District, saying incumbent Lee Ware hadn’t introduced any meaningful legislation in the Virginia House during his 23 years in the seat and doesn’t have a coherent vision going forward.

Coakley said she promises to be “a voice for the working class” in the 65th District.


Several technical issues struck while trying to get statewide candidates on the Zoom, and pre-recorded message from gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe had to be sent out later after repeated unsuccessful attempts to get it to play.

Despite some delays, Attorney General Mark Herring and candidate for Lieutenant Governor Hala Alaya were both able to join, and former Congressional candidate Cameron Webb made a surprise appearance to support Alaya and the rest of the Democratic ticket.

Alaya said this was an opportunity for Virginia voters to make history, “the first time int he 400 years of this Commonwealth you would elect a woman of color, a Black and Brown woman, to the statewide seat of the Lieutenant Governor’s Office,” but added that it wasn’t so much about making history as much as “it’s about the progress we are going to continue to make,” she said.






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